To help diversify STEM faculty, Berkeley-led model goes national
By Gretchen Kell, Media relations| OCTOBER 27, 2020
If underrepresented groups make up 30% of the increasingly diverse U.S. population, why do they represent less than 5% of the faculty nationwide, less than 6% of postdoctoral scholars and only about 10% of Ph.D. students in key STEM fields — mathematical, physical and environmental sciences, and engineering?
The UC Berkeley-led California Alliance knows some of the reasons why, and the successful model program it has built with partners Stanford University, UCLA and Caltech during the past six years to help transform these ranks is now going national, with a $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program.
“There are structural problems in our research institutions that are limiting scientists of color and their careers, and top universities have a responsibility to solve them,” said Colette Patt, director of the alliance and assistant dean of Berkeley’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division. “We’re confronting systemic practices that don’t advance equity, and we’re generating practices that do.”
Today, the alliance has become the Research University Alliance — a new, nine-university partnership, again led by Berkeley, that includes the California Alliance’s former members, plus the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Georgia Tech, University of Texas at Austin and University of Washington. The consortium also will co-create partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and with Minority Serving Institutions.